At the end of a long day it’s not uncommon for me to reflect on my day and think:
The mother I was today is the not the mother I wanted to be. I cried, I lashed out, I acted like a two year old, and I expected my two year old to act like an adult. She may never forgive me for today. To make matters worse, I didn’t react fast enough to my baby’s cries. I was frustrated by my toddler, and couldn’t put those feelings aside when responding to my baby. I let her cry for too long. I didn’t immediately rush to her when she needed me because I was tired.
It’s easy to let those negative thoughts take over.
If I’m being honest, though, that’s just one side of the story. The other side is this:
I was a rock star mom today. While my husband worked late, I took care of a spirited toddler and a very tired baby all by myself and everyone survived. I made sure they were fed and safe. I dished out a (semi) homemade dinner and was patient when most of it ended up on the floor. I added bubbles to their bath and laughed when they splashed water out of the tub. I wrapped them up in warm towels and dressed them in cozy jammies. I let my toddler watch her favorite show, and I snuggled my baby while she drank her nightly bottle. I diligently combed the house in search of the 6,000 pacifiers my baby requires to sleep soundly at night. I read my toddler bedtime stories and said prayers for her “fwends” at school. I gave her a million “big kisses” and “big hugs” until she calmed down and closed her eyes. When they were asleep, I cleaned up the kitchen, folded the laundry, and made lunches and bottles for the next day.
Both sides of this story are true. I am often impatient and immature, but I am also amazing and kind. The problem is I often get caught up in one side – the negative side. I see all my faults as a mother and none of the positive. It’s a slippery slope. It’s easy to focus on everything that went wrong that day.
I was late leaving work; the girls were cranky after a long day at daycare. By the time my husband came home, I was ready to collapse on the floor from exhaustion.
This motherhood job is hard, and self-reflection isn’t a bad thing. It’s okay to acknowledge failure and work to become a better mother, wife, friend, etc. However, focusing ONLY on the negative leaves no room for the happiness that comes from acknowledging the good. The catch is that praise for a mothering job well done isn’t likely to come from an outward source. Nobody’s going to validate your mothering with a raise or promotion. We have to recognize our successes for ourselves. Take some time to reflect on areas of improvement, yes, but also praise ourselves for the one million amazing things we did for our children that day. And remember – the truth lies somewhere in between.
About Brittany Love
Brittany grew up on Bayou Dularge in South Louisiana. After attending college and law school in Baton Rouge, she married a native New Orleanian and agreed to settle down in the city. Although a part of her will always miss the slow pace of her hometown, she has grown to love the hustle, bustle, and charm of New Orleans. She has two daughters: Lilly, a smart, sassy, and funny two year old, and Colette, an incredibly sweet and happy almost one year old. When she’s not working or child wrangling, she can be found reading, watching trashy reality television, or enjoying good food and wine with her friends and family.